Why so much emphasis on passion? There are several reasons. Writing about subjects that interest you and ignite your passion is a whole lot more fun, and the articles are easier to write. Besides, the final product is likely to be much better.
Several years ago I discovered that I’m passionate about writing profiles, interviews, and other kinds of articles about people who are committed to making a difference in the world. I had also determined by that time that the whole subject of purpose was part of my life purpose, so in an effort to bring more purpose and meaning to my writing career, I created Project Purpose:
To write and publish articles about people and institutions whose lives and missions are dedicated to a bold and inspired purpose or vision.
I started to focus my efforts on getting assignments that would fit Project Purpose. About three months after creating the project, I received my first official Project Purpose assignment to write a profile of Bo Lozoff of The Human Kindness Foundation in Carrboro, North Carolina. The assignment came from New Age Journal (since re-named Body and Soul). At the time, it was the largest assignment I’d received, both in the prestige of the magazine and the size of the paycheck. In fact, the check was close to double what I had so far received for any other single article.
Perhaps the most interesting phenomenon was that receiving the payment was the proverbial icing on the cake. I loved doing the research for the article, which involved traveling to Carborro to interview Bo, his wife, Sita, and other people whose lives had been touched by this incredible couple.
The writing was a joy, both challenging and fun. Even the revision process was virtually painless because I was doing something close to my heart. Then the check arrived— the icing on an already delectable dessert, and I knew I had hit upon something really important. As Greg Braendel of Career Dreams, Inc. and another Project Purpose profile subject says, “Passion always sells, obsession never does.”
The other reason I encourage aspiring writers to tap into their passions is because the profession of freelance writing is a tough one. There’s a lot of competition. Busy, often over-worked editors are not always as nice as they could be. And the pay . . . well, there are easier ways to make money, as I’ve said. I’ve seen and talked to too many freelancers, both part-timers and those doing it for a living, who have become jaded about their work. In many cases, that happens because they sell out by writing too many articles that they find boring and uninteresting just to pay the rent. They find subjects they can write about that, even though uninspiring, still bring in the bacon. But years of writing just for the money can desiccate the staunchest soul. Don’t let it happen to you.
What are you passionate about that you feel others would be interested in reading about as well? Who knows, answering that question might be just the impetus you need to start you on your way to an article that makes a difference.
Let me hear from you.